Wow! I can't believe it has been so long ago since I posted something on my blog! The year is half over! I spent Feb. and March recovering from a total knee replacement. God has 'speeded' along my recovery and I've been out hiking and walking all over his creation. I've lost a few pounds, gotten a little bit of a tan and seen a lot of his beautiful creations. I'm seldom home to post on my blog.
God has been doing some amazing things in my life such as sending me to the other side of the planet. When I tell people that I’m going on a mission trip to Africa because God told me to. They usually look at my kinda’ funny, then ask, ”How do you know God want’s you to go?” “Did he talk to you? “ “Did you hear his voice?” Did you see a burning bush or something?
How do you know when it’s God and not just your own idea? I’m reminded of the cell phone commercial where the guy kept asking “Can you hear me now?” He would walk to another location and say, “Can you hear me now ?” On this journey, I've heard “Can you hear me now?” over and over. I’d like to share my story with you.
About a year and a half ago, God impressed on my heart that I should return to Africa and not only me but my daughter as well. We should host a woman’s conference. How many of you “run ahead of God”, unfortunately I do this a lot of the time. I need the words from Psalms, “Be still and know that I am God” or “Wait upon the Lord” tattooed on my eyeball so that I can see them all the time and be reminded that God’s timing is not my timing.
But my mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that we should be going with my church to Kenya the following October. I called Ginger and she wasn't sure she would be able to go, but I felt sure God would send us. I felt so strong about the two of us going, that I e-mailed Irene, Joseph W. secretary and ask about leading a women’s conference while we were there with our church in October. She said that the conference would be great and I should let her know if Ginger would be coming with me. Well the date of the mission trip with Westwood was moved from Oct. to Feb. And I was having knee replacement surgery at that time!
“God, what’s going on, I know I felt your call?” Maybe I’m to go with the church to China instead, that trip is coming up in early June. But God showed me that I was not to go to China, He said Africa and that’s what he meant! I wondered what was going on and told my husband, God’s calling me for something. It’s something big but I don’t know what it is! I really feel like he wants me to do something.
I kept praying and time went by, my health was improving and my knee was getting stronger day by day. There was a revival at my church and the theme was about serving God. One of the speakers was from Africa and I felt the stirring of my spirit. The African people were on my mind and in my heart. God was gently wooing me especially through a photo that kept being printed in our church bulletin. Also the June date seemed to be important. All this kept sticking in my mind but I couldn’t figure out why.
One of our ministers was hosting a trip to Canada and the group was leaving on June 4th at the same time that the China trip was scheduled. Since God had shown me that I was not to go to China, maybe Joe and I could take a little vacation and go on the Canada tour. After much debate back and forth, Joe decided he wouldn’t go, he needed new tires for the truck and the van. He said if I wanted to go, I should go with my cousin Rhonda who wanted to go and needed a roommate. I began praying about it but I didn’t get an answer. All I had was a ‘Do I really want to go?’ restlessness in my spirit.
As I sat by Rhonda in Sunday School class, I ask if she still wanted to go on the Canada trip and when she said yes, I told her that I would go with her. As soon as I told her I would go, I thought “You haven’t heard from God yet?” but I brushed it off and we started making plans.
I kept feeling that God was calling me for something but I didn’t have a clue as to what! I kept noticing the picture in the bulletin and every time it twinged my spirit. Finally, late one night in my bed, I told God, “I don’t know what you want from me? Others have so much to give, Ginger has a speaking ministry. I’m so proud of her, going where you send her and speaking to women about your love. I would like to do something like that, I would like to have a ministry for you, but I’m not trained in anything. All I have is my little arts and crafts knowledge, I don’t know how you could use that but that’s all I have. God, just take me and use me for your glory anyway you want to, I’m yours, take me, use me.
The following Tuesday as I sat with my girlfriends having lunch in a cute little tea room. God called me on my cell phone! And through the voice of my daughter he said,” Mom help! Lorrie and I are going to Liberia to do a ladies conference and taking another team member. We thought we were just there to speak but now we've found out that they want us to have arts and crafts too! We‘re leaving in 5 weeks on June 4th, we don‘t know what kind of things to make and we don‘t have any money for supplies!” “Can you hear me now?”
At first I thought about getting some things together and sending them with her team. The more I thought about it, the more God impressed upon me that I was to go myself. This was the June women’ s conference in Africa with Ginger he had called me for almost 2 years ago.
Lorrie, goes to church with a man named Dirk Helmling who has a ministry training and discipline pastors around the world. Three times a year he takes a team of men to host a pastors conference in Liberia and Lorrie had ask about going along and taking ladies for a women's conference. Lorrie, Ginger and two or three other ladies were to make the trip. One by one, some of the other team members had to drop out. Just this past week, Lorrie, our fearless leader, just learned that she is pregnant and her doctor will not let her go because she can’t take the malaria medication. I'm needed on the team "Can you hear me now?"
I have my shots and passport from previous mission trips, but I needed to raise around $3,500 in just a few short weeks. I needed money, God touched the hearts of my church friends and money for the trip is coming in. “Can you hear me now?“ The next thing I needed to do was get my plane ticket. I wanted a ticket on the same flight as my daughter so we could travel together, but she had bought her ticket weeks ago. God worked it out, we're on the same flights. “Can you hear me now?”
I knew that one of our crafts has to be decorating flip-flops so that they could have shoes. I needed 100 pair of flip flops for each of the 50 ladies in the 2 conferences. I found a place on-line where I could buy them for $1.00 each with free shipping but I had to order a gross, 144 pr. To get the deal. I ordered the rest of the craft supplies and everything came in within just a few days! “Can you hear me now?”
I thought about trying to pack all this up and figured that I would only take 100 pair and leave the other 44 behind. But God flooded my mind with ways to use the extra flip-flops as a witnessing tool. There a “free gift” just like salvation. Once we accept Jesus, we’re a new creature and we walk in a new life. As a Christian we walk in Jesus’ footsteps and try to live like him., etc.
Also I found out just a few days ago that the women in the area are so excited about our coming, more are signing up for the conference. We didn’t want to keep anyone from hearing the good news of Jesus, so we told them not to turn anyone away. I hope I have enough supplies, so we just keep thinking loves and fishes, loves and fishes.
Next hurdle, getting the supplies to Africa. Airlines started charging a lot for luggage. But God’s coming in clear and strong, it’s in his hands. I’m just along for the ride and I can hear him and see his fingerprints all over this mission.
Ginger and I both will have to take an extra bag to get everything there as well as pack some of it in the suitcases with our clothes. I can just see it now, some attendant decides to check our bulging bags and when he unzips the suitcase, flip-flops fly everywhere. They may think we’re some kind of new shoe bomber!
I'll be posting some of the events of the trip in later blogs, I'm still recouping for jet lag :oP
Paint each day with God's love, Frankie